Summary: Friend, my goal today is to win you for Christ. God loves you and wants you to spend eternity with him. If you have been one of those who have been coming to Church faithfully for many years and never really received Jesus as your personal Savior, I de
We are not told who that “someone” was who asked Jesus the question “Lord will those who are saved be few?” but in answering the question Jesus actually tells us how to get there. He tells us that only few will get in while many will stand outside the door and keep knocking and pleading. Friend, I am not here to judge you being in need of judgment myself, but probably not everyone here today is going to make it. Don’t look at your neighbor now because it could very well be you. I am a country music fan and Kenny Chesney is one of my favorites – He sings a song that goes like this “The Preacher told me last Sunday to start living right” and then goes on to say “everybody wants to go to heaven and have a mansion above the clouds but nobody wants to go now”. Towards the end of the song he says, “I think I speak for the crowd”. Isn’t that so true with many of us?
About 10 years ago I served as a Pastor of a Church in New Jersey and at one of our services I asked all those who wanted to go to heaven to raise their hands. All but one lady put their hand up. Assuming she did not hear me, I actually walked down the aisle and asked again. She never raised her hand and without embarrassing her, in the most loving way I kind of asked why she wasn’t so enthusiastic about going to heaven to which she said “I am already there”. “Many years ago I gave myself to Christ” she said “and what you see here is only my physical body”.
What an amazing testimony. I wish every one of us could say that.
Friend, my goal today is to win you for Christ. God loves you and wants you to spend eternity with him. If you have been one of those who have been coming to Church faithfully for many years and never really received Jesus as your personal Savior, I dedicate this message just for you. You can’t earn your way into heaven by saying Lord I have done this and I have done that – Jesus has already told us what he would say – “Depart from me for I do not know who you are”.
For far too long the church has claimed to be rescuing the perishing, when all we have been doing is really serving the dying. I am not going to preach a hell and brimstone message to you today but friend wherever you are and whoever you are - listen to me for a moment - Salvation is free but it is not going to be automatic. If you will give me the next couple of minutes of your time, I promise to try and put a handle on God’s word that will help you get through the door while it is still open.
First of all you must “Strive to enter”:
If you pick up your scripture insert, on the 5th line of our gospel reading Jesus says “Strive to enter by the narrow door”. Unfortunately, finding salvation requires a lot more effort than most people are willing to put forth. Obviously, we cannot save ourselves but you should want it so badly in order to get it. You should want it no matter what the cost. The desire should trump every other priority in your life. I looked up the word “strive” which means to struggle, it also means to go all out; do your best; give it your utmost; make every effort; try very hard – I am sure you get my point. A lukewarm “we’ll talk about it later” attitude is not going to cut it. In Psalm 42, the Levite Priests said “As a deer thirsts for water, so my soul longs for you O God”. I love that analogy. It is a good example of striving. The very first step of striving is to repent. Jesus tells us very plainly that it is not going to be easy but it is not impossible either. The Christian life is a very difficult one but we have to be able to pursue and stay the course. Perhaps you are saying “Salvation is a free gift and therefore why do we need to strive for it?” That is true – Salvation is free and God is willing and able to save but it is you who needs to make the journey. In other words, you have to move your feet; he is not going to do that for you. It is a journey of faith – not an intellectual faith of the head but a heart faith that will put you on a Golgotha path just like our Savior – a path of strife; of falling down picking up the pieces and carrying your cross until the victory is finally won.